Dáil Éireann - Volume 476 - 20 March, 1997

Written Answers. - Indictment of War Criminals.

39. Ms F. Fitzgerald asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if Ireland supported the EU decision of 9 January 1997 to remove the timetable for the handing over of war criminals by the Bosnian Serbs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7821/97]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Spring): The Government is fully committed to international actions designed to bring about the full implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement for Bosnia and Herzegovina. An integral part of this agreement is compliance by the parties involved with the orders of the International Criminal Tribunal, including handing over indicted suspects. With our EU partners, the Government believes that full co-operation by all parties with the tribunal in the effort to bring war criminals to justice is a fundamental obligation which must be honoured if genuine stability and lasting peace are to be consolidated. The conclusions of the Paris meeting of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council in November and of the London meeting of the full Council in December 1996, made it quite clear that the provision of international economic reconstruction assistance to the parties is conditional on their co-operation in this area. Ireland and the European Union have fully endorsed these conclusions. This policy will determine how the European Commission disburses its funds for reconstruction priorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

At a meeting hosted by the European Commission on 9 and 10 January, to which I presume the Deputy is referring, reconstruction priorities were discussed at a technical level. It was not a decision-making meeting and no decisions were made. The European Commission outlined, in broad terms, priority sectors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including in the Republica Srpska, identified for reconstruction funding in 1997 and subsequent [1360] years. Although projects have been identified and costed, the actual disbursement of funding will be subject to the political conditionality which I have just described, and this has been made very clear to the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including in the Republica Srpska.